This has been an exciting fall at Dawson as we work on the implementation of our forward-thinking Strategic Plan. Dawson strives always to be “a school of student explorers who experience deep and practical learning that inspires them to bring their best to the world,” so then our focus must be on the creation and maintenance of an innovative curriculum with real-world applications. The ways we teach what we teach are just as important as the material itself. Similarly, the assessment of student knowledge should involve a variety of methodology.
Trends in education assessment point to a need for flexibility and for an evolution in thinking: Recent headlines range from well-publicized changes to the SAT and an uptick in the use of the ACT, to assessments better reflecting the multicultural makeup of today’s students. In Dawson’s Strategic Plan we are challenged to go even further: to “create alternative forms of assessment that emphasize process,” while investigating “programs that encourage problem solving and critical thinking.” For example, last year Dawson took a step in this direction when we decided to administer the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) to our freshmen class. The CWRA is designed for students to use what they know to make decisions about real-world problems like crime, poverty, and resource allocation, just to name a few. We plan to test the group again when they are seniors to see if there is any difference in how they can apply their knowledge after four years at Dawson. This is just one way of measuring our own success in reaching Dawson’s vision of helping our students be prepared to meet the challenges of the world... » read more